Finance

As well as our work to influence funding for local government, we have an extensive finance offer to help local authorities manage their finances in these difficult times.


Our financial resilience offer makes use of expertise from across the local government sector in the form of LGA peers (experienced officers and councillors). 

Finance Improvement & Sustainability Associates (FISA) Programme

Our LGA finance associates – all of them former local authority chief finance officers – provide advice and insight to councils facing financial challenges. They can provide a financial health check of your council or support in challenging your budget. Alternatively, we can provide experienced member peers to work with councillors to help them understand and address their budget challenges.

Finance Peer Challenge

Our Finance Peer Challenge programme is a specialist peer challenge that dovetails closely with our Corporate Peer Challenge programme. It looks at how councils are setting strategy, making required decisions, and implementing changes that will give them the best chance of balancing the books in the medium and long term.

Bespoke support

For councils facing significant challenges, we can provide a package of bespoke support. This includes a new offer of assurance reviews, focused on:

  • capital strategies (including support to ensure well-managed and sustainable capital strategies)
  • business cases for services/ programmes at risk of overspending.

An example of bespoke support previously provided was for Peterborough City Council, a small unitary authority, which, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, was facing significant financial challenges.

Peterborough City Council case study

Support for councillors

  • Our 'Finance: Leadership Essentials' programmes – for leaders, cabinet members and audit committee chairs – includes an offer for cabinet members from across all portfolios, providing tools and advice to address financial challenges in their own service areas.
  • Our finance induction virtual session, 'Finance without numbers', is aimed at new councillors as well as those who are looking to refresh their knowledge of the basics of local government finance. The webinar provides an overview of local government finance without any numbers - focussing instead on roles and responsibilities, key terminologies and processes. Email [email protected] for more information.
  • Our financial governance workshop series provides an accessible and practical overview, enabling councillors to ensure their council’s finances are well governed.
  • Our regional audit forums for audit committee chairs are convened at least three times a year and provide an opportunity to share good practice and discuss common issues and offer training on key topics. Forums are organised by a lead authority in each region which decides the agendas. Email Ami Beeton, Senior Adviser, for more information about the regional audit forums.
  • The local government finance councillor workbook considers the way local councils receive their funding and highlights both the legal and best practice requirements in managing your council’s financial affairs.

Support for officers

Guidance 

We write and commission guidance on the topic of local government finance to support finance professionals, other senior officers and councillors. 

Whether you're looking to improve budgeting practices, understand key principles or navigate complex financial challenges, our publications provide you with the guidance and resources you need.

Current publications

LG Inform – our free data benchmarking tool 

Our free data benchmarking tool – LG Inform – presents you with up-to-date data about your local area and the performance of your council. With access to over 1,000 individual items of published data for England, LG Inform gives you:

  • easy access to the most relevant up-to-date published data
  • the ability to compare your council with others
  • high-quality online and offline reporting.

Our sister benchmarking tool – LG Inform Value for Money Profiles (or VfM) – is dedicated to council financial data. These profiles show how councils are spending resources and how these costs compare between organisations. It contains financial reports related to services over time, with the same ability to compare against a range of comparison groups. As with LG Inform, it is free to use and we keep the data up to date so you can rely on having the most recent information.

Find out more

To find out more about our financial resilience offer or to discuss any support you may need, please email [email protected].